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Kim at her study group's gathering in Chicago …15 years strong.
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8 Ways to Whittle Down College Debt
Why Fundraising Matters
Upcoming Firm Events
Recipe of the Month
8 Ways to Whittle Down College Debt
How can I manage my college debt? This is a question that often comes up during our first meeting with young professionals.
And without surprise, as last year, college seniors graduated with a diploma, a well-paying job (hopefully), and an average student loan debt of $29,200, according to a new study by the Institute for College Access and Success
Almost two in three college seniors, or about 65% who graduated from public and private nonprofit colleges in 2018, carried college debt into their post-graduate world.
Connecticut held the honor of holding the largest debt load—$38,669, while Utah had the lowest burden $19,728.
To see for yourself, you can click on the map here and download the Excel spreadsheet, or place your cursor over the interactive map and share averages from your state.
We’re sure that no one is completely shocked by the high debt burden. Soaring college costs have been well broadcasted.
In 1985, the annual tuition, fees, and room and board rates charged to full-time undergraduate students at a four-year public university ran $3,859. By 2015, the cost had ballooned to $19,189, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. For private schools over the same period: $9,228 to $39,529.
These averages and costs will vary, but they paint an unsettling picture.
While we of course believe that a college education is a worthy investment, $30,000 in debt is a heavy burden for someone that is 22 or 23 years old.
Unfortunately, many young adults often underestimate the time it will take to pay back their loans. According to a survey of 2,500 recent and soon-to-be graduates, respondents believe they are six years away from being debt free. Which is not typically the case.
That’s why, instead of simply
highlighting the high debt some of our kids are dealing with, we thought we’d offer several ideas that can help bring your student debt loans, or any debt burden, under control.
Before we get started, let us point out that as with most things in life, there is no magic formula. Debt is debt, it accrues interest, and lenders expect to be repaid.
But if you set a goal, map out a plan, and stick to the blueprint, you’ll be surprised at the ground you can cover.
That said, typical rates run from 4.5% to 7%, with a term of about 10 years. That’s a monthly payment of $324 and $9,702 in interest on the average debt of $29,200, assuming 6% interest.
1.Apply for student loan forgiveness. You can try, but odds are very low you’ll have any success.
The U.S. Department of Education rejected 99% of the applicants who applied for relief between May 2018 and May 2019, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO.
Therefore, let’s look at more realistic ideas.
2. Make more than the minimum payment. By adding just $100 per month to your payment, you’ll pay the average debt off three years early and shave a cool $3,000 off your interest payments (data taken from Bankrate.com loan calculator).
Be sure to confirm the extra payments are correctly applied to the principal. This step is important, especially as it relates to the method you use to pay down your debt—steps 3 and 4.
3. Pay off high-rate loans first—the avalanche method. If you have more than one loan, make the minimum payment on lower-rate loans but apply that extra payment to the highest rate loan first. There’s no reason to pay more in interest than necessary.
4.Pay off the smallest loan first—the snowball method. This loan may not be your most expensive loan, but you may feel a sense of accomplishment from ‘checking the box,’ or ‘wiping out’ one loan. It’s a visible, tangible progress when a loan fades into oblivion.
Plus, by knocking one loan out, you can improve your credit score and lower your debt-to-income ratio.
Don’t overspend but reward yourself when you’ve paid off your first loan. It’s an accomplishment.
5. Rollover the payment. Once you have eliminated the first loan, take that entire payment and roll it into the loan with the next highest rate (or the loan with the lowest balance). Do you see what you are doing? It’s called momentum. When that loan is paid off, you have additional cash to plow back into the third loan.
Keep the ball rolling until you’ve eliminated all of your student debt. But don’t stop here. Once your debt is paid off, you may tackle credit card debt or save for a down payment on a home.
Establishing the right patterns when you are young will pay dividends throughout your life.
6. Can you refinance to lower rates? A lower interest rate may translate into fewer payments. But be careful about extending the length of the loan. Lower payments may tempt but the goal is to obliterate your student loans, not
pile up additional interest and delay the day when you’ll be student-debt free.
7. The auto-payment option. Just do it. Does your loan servicer offer auto-payment? Most do. You may save 0.25%, and auto-payment is a ‘set and forget’ way of paying back debt. Besides, you won’t have to worry about missing a payment, late fees, or a mark on your credit report.
8. Be careful with extended payment plans. Such plans reduce your monthly payment and may be income-based, but it will take you longer to pay off your student debt and you’ll pay more in interest.
Your goal is to put your college debt in the rearview mirror. Be strategic about your choices. Set up a plan. Use our pointers as a guide. As always, we’re here to answer your questions.
*Horsesmouth October Letter
Nick spent a weekend in Chicago visting family.
Some of the FSG team at Le Miserables in Fort Lauderdale!
Devon fostered 4 newborn kittens and found them all good homes!
October is national breast cancer awareness mouth.
Did you know that breast cancer is the most common cancer among women and is also the second leading cause of cancer deaths among women?
How about the fact that 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer during her lifetime?
While this figure seems high, it is not nearly as high as it once was. Death rates from female breast cancer dropped 40% from 1989 to 2016, which means that as we're finding out more about the disease, we’re also finding ways to beat it.
This past year, I was lucky enough to be one of the women who found out they had breast cancer from early on.
Ladies go get your annual mammograms done! After 6 rounds of chemo and a double mastectomy. I am cancer free.
None of this would have been possible without all of the people who have spent hours dedicating their time and resources raising awareness and finding a cure for the disease.
In honor of that we want to talk to you briefly about the power of fundraising.
Why Fundraising Matters: A Letter From Kim
We know it can often feel like you’re being pestered left and right for money, and never really seeing where it goes or the impact it has.
The fact is, that fortunately many people never really have to experience cancer or a fatal disease. But when it hits this close to home, you can't help but be driven to want to make a difference.
I too, have been guilty of forgetting the power that fundraising has. Life is busy and with it, our time and resources start to dwindle. Who really has time to add in an extra thing to think about, right?
We too easily forget that without fundraising and community events, awareness starts to dwindle. And with that, the resources we need to continue finding a cure for these debilitating illnesses, one of the most fateful ones today being the Alzheimers disease.
Did you know that Alzheimer’s is a fatal disease?
On top of that, 5 million people in the US are currently living with the
On November 9th our team will walk to raise awareness and funds to hopefully one day find a cure.
If you feel inclined, you can visit Kimberly's page for the Walk to End ALZ here.
disease, with about 83,000 dying from it every year.
How can we ignore those figures? Especially when there's currently no effective proven treatment or cure.
My Father was diagnosed with Alzheimers at the age of 62 and died at 74. I experienced first hand the suffering this disease caused for him, and for our entire family.
Even here at FSG, we have watched too many clients suffer from this desease, and we continue to each and every year.
The single most powerful thing we can do, is to continue talking about it. Talking about each other’s experiences, raising awareness of what needs to be done, and getting involved where you can.
That’s why we’re asking you to join us this year, our 6th year, at the Alzheimer’s Association Annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s.
Because your presence, time, attention, and resources do matter in the fight to find a cure.
We hope you can join us at one of our upcoming events
Visit our event calendar or give us a call if you have any questions, or would like to RSVP to any future event.
Recipe of the Month
Preheat broiler. Place poblano peppers, cut sides down, on a rimmed baking sheet. Broil, until charred, 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and let cool. Discard skins; dice peppers.
Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a large pot. Slowly whisk in grits. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring often (grits will bubble in spots), until liquid has absorbed and grits are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cheese and butter. Season with salt.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and red pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until just tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl; reserve skillet.
Season shrimp with coriander, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper. Heat remaining tablespoon oil in reserved skillet over medium heat. Add shrimp and cook until opaque throughout, 2 to 3 minutes per side; transfer to bowl with vegetables. Add broth to skillet, increase heat to medium-high, and cook until liquid is reduced to 1 cup, 8 to 9 minutes. Return shrimp, vegetables, and poblanos to skillet and toss to combine.
Return grits to medium heat. Add 1/2 cup milk. Cook, stirring often, until heated through, 3 to 4 minutes (add additional milk as needed to thin). Serve grits topped with shrimp mixture with cilantro and lime wedges alongside.
*Recipe from Country Living
Southwest Shrimp & Grits
In honor of one of Hank's favorite comfort foods.
2 green poblano peppers, halved and seeded
1 c. white stone-ground grits
2 oz. extra-sharp Cheddar, coarsely grated
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 small onion, sliced
1 small red pepper, sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
Pinch cayenne pepper
2 c. chicken broth
1/2 to 1 cup whole milk
Fresh cilantro leaves and lime wedges, for serving
Chris's October Read
The Barbarian Days of Surfing: William Finnegan
Surfing only looks like a sport. To devotees, it is something else entirely: a beautiful addiction, a mental and physical study, a passionate way of life.
New Yorker writer William Finnegan first started surfing as a young boy in California and Hawaii. Barbarian Days is his immersive memoir of a life spent traveling the world chasing waves through the South Pacific, Australia, Asia, Africa and beyond. Finnegan describes the edgy yet enduring brotherhood forged among the swell of the surf; and recalling his own apprenticeship to the world's most famous and challenging waves, he considers the intense relationship formed between man, board and water.
Barbarian Days is an old-school adventure story, a social history, an extraordinary exploration of one man's gradual mastering of an exacting and little-understood art. It is a memoir of dangerous obsession and enchantment.